MISSION, Texas (ValleyCentral) — Valley Veteran families are dealing with concern that a government shutdown would affect veteran cemeteries.
Jenny Lopez comes to the Mission Rio Grande Valley State Veterans Cemetery to speak with her father, Jesus Lopez Rodriguez. Lopez’s father served in Vietnam during the late 1960s and early 1970s earning a purple heart in the U.S army.
“Every month we come twice a month just to be with him here and is so peaceful because it’s just so beautiful and just knowing that my dad is in this beautiful place. It’s awesome,” Lopez explained.
She tells us that those who come out to this cemetery on a regular basis get to know each other so well, they grieve with each other so much that they become like family.
But now Lopez is concerned that a government shutdown would stand in the way of memorializing Veterans and hopes it could be avoided.
“It’s definitely gonna affect all of us not only the Veterans and the cemeteries and the offices, the government, it’s going to affect a lot of families,” Lopez said.
We reached out to George Austin Rice, the man who heads up the Rio Grande Valley State Veterans Cemetery.
He says the impact of shutdown on this cemetery should not be of concern for Lopez or other valley Veteran families.
“This is a state Veterans cemetery. It’s state funded, it has zero effect on us. There are some federal aspects that are tied in with those because we do follow VA and NCA regulations. But the effects are going to be minimal or none at all,” Rice said.
Rice adds that he is a Veteran himself and that he takes, “great pride and the state of Texas and what we do to honor our veterans and we will not fail our veterans and our veteran families.”
Families like Lopez’s can continue to visit their loved ones.
Rice adds the Rio Grande Valley State Veterans Cemetery is the only Veterans cemetery in the Valley.
The Department of Veterans Affairs says a shutdown would impact veterans cemeteries or funerals elsewhere.
“The VA will not permanently place headstones or maintain the grounds at VA national cemeteries,” the VA announced Friday. “VA will not process applications for pre-need burials. VA will not print new presidential memorial certificates.”